Over the Rainbow
Ridden and Reviewed by: Gravel Girl
Imagine the ruby-slipper-wearing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz singing “Somewhere over the rainbow.” Well, over the rainbow is where you are headed on this ride: over the Rainbow Market, a place known for its own cultural experience.
This ride starts at the Flight Museum in Madras which is officially called the Erickson Aircraft Collection. (Yes, we have permission to park there and leave your car.)
The ride heads west south on bike lanes, then meanders through double track gravel evolving into an old railroad grade from the turn of the 19th century. This canyon is just Wild West beautiful.
Note: You are one hell of a good cyclists if you make it through the short, crash-inducing rocky bits without playing “hike a bike” or foot dabbing.
You then hug the pristine Lake Simtustus shoreline until you reach Highway 26. This is when you sing Over the Rainbow (twice) for a quick two mile buzz downhill on wide shoulders to the Rainbow Market just outside of Warm Springs. (We really, really, really wish you could just click your heels three times and skip the highway section.)
At the Rainbow Market you can chat with the colorful locals or the Bendites who are blazing to the PDX airport. We don’t recommend the coffee but I’m sure the bottled water is good to go.
Now for the best part: The next 10 miles are single track, dirt roads and old railway grade along the Deschutes River with one continuous “oh my god” view. The two miles of singletrack have short rocky sections, some so close to the water that you are going swimming if you crash. Look for the bald and golden eagles. And just yell, “Yip! Yip!” to move the cows off the trail; they seem well trained.
Eventually you end up in a campground, where you leave the river and wind up to the main gate for Trout Creek Ranch.
Note: you can add in an additional seven miles of out and back to go see the Trout Creek Ranch which was homesteaded in 1890. Just read the signs if the gates are locked to know if you can hop the fence. It’s a beautiful ride, rocky gravel.
From here, zip through the one-lane tunnel, up a steep grade (15+ %) with an intermediate respite at Gateway, and then onto the rim summit where you get booming views of the mountains to the west. From here it is a nearly straight line paved route, through farming country, back to the air museam.
**Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop : 41 miles / 1900 ft gain
– Style: Mixed (3 gravel / double track sectors, 14 miles total / 2 single track sectors, 3 miles total)**
– Location: Madras, OR
– Course by: Gravel Girl
– Date Posted: April 2018
Advanced. Due to the 16+ miles of single track / double track, the short but steep climb out of Trout Creek Ranch where the grade exceeds 15% for 0.5+ miles, and the two bike carries over cattle control barriers / fences.
Erickson Aircraft Collection / Museum. Park in the dirt lot on the north side of the building. Flush toilets and water.
**Food / Water
@ mile 16, Rainbow Market.
**GPX Track File
Click to download.
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road / double-track
Blue = single-track